Lectio Divina is a term we are hearing more often these days, especially here in St. Catherine’s. Lectio Divina translates from two latin words as “Sacred Reading”. It is an ancient method of reading the bible and goes back to the first thousand years of christianity as the principal way of forming communities centered on the sacred Word of God. In the church today Lectio Divina is undergoing a marked revival and is being rediscovered by people worldwide as a personal and communal way to meet Jesus and to grow your relationship with him and with each other. It is a way to deeper understanding of God and of ourselves and in doing Lectio Divina we are doing theology. St.Anslem defined theology as “faith seeking understanding”.
In the 12th century, a Carthusian monk called Guigo, described the stages which he saw as essential to the practice of Lectio Divina. There are various ways of practicing Lectio Divina either individually or in groups but Guigo’s description remains fundamental.
He said that the first stage is lectio (reading) where we read the Word of God, slowly and reflectively so that it sinks into us. Any passage of Scripture can be used for this way of prayer but the passage should not be too long.
Here in St.Catherine’s there are seven Lectio Divina communities who meet for twenty weeks of the Church year, Advent, Pentecost, and Michaelmas (September). They meet in the Lectio Centre which is at 35 Dominic Street. This was the address of the old Dominican Priory. Fr. Joseph Ralph O.P. formed the first Lectio Divina community over four years ago and continues to form and develop a growing number of Lectio communities each year. Fr. Joseph offers an introduction to Lectio Divina each Thursday evening in the Lectio Centre for those who are interested and wish to learn more about this method of praying and reading the Bible. The Bible text which all of us read and pray is the Gospel text for the following Sunday Mass. In this way Sunday Mass becomes a fuller, whole hearted celebration of the Gospel. The Good News of Jesus risen and alive at work in our lives and in our world today.
(Anne Smyth, Member of Rose of Lima Lectio Community)